Luxembourg pips Ireland in overtime thriller in Cork

Luxembourg bounced back in style from their opening game loss to Ireland on Friday night, to win out by four points in an overtime thriller at the Mardyke Arena UCC, Cork this evening.

Nothing separated the teams from the very off, as Luxembourg had their homework well done on Ireland’s main threats ahead of this evening’s clash and used that knowledge well to limit Ireland’s opportunities.

Superb displays from Taiwo Badmus and Lorcan Murphy were the big talking points for the Irish once more, while Belfast Star’s Keelan Cairns stepped up to the mark in style with some big scores throughout the game – most importantly, a huge three-pointer to send the game to overtime.

Indeed, it was a much tighter affair all round, with the sides neck-in-neck in the opening quarter, with Badmus once more the stand-out scorer for the Irish, bagging 10 of his side’s opening period points, while good scores from Aidan Quinn, Lorcan Murphy and Cairns saw Ireland ahead by the minimum, 25-24 at the end of the quarter.

The second quarter continued in the same vein, with Luxembourg matching the hosts score for score. Again, it was the athleticism of Lorcan Murphy and super work from Travis Black and Badmus that stood out for the Irish, to keep the scoring ticking over.

Luxembourg was up to the challenge though, and Oliver Vujakovic and Alex Laurent stepped up strong to edge them into a 51-53 point lead at half time.

Ireland's coach Pete Strickland. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

Again, nothing separated the sides in the third quarter. Black, Murphy and Badmus continued to find the target and cause trouble for the Luxembourg defence, and Ireland trailed by just one point (70-71) going into the last.

The game remained in the balance throughout the fourth quarter, as neither team could get a cushion on the scoreboard. Paddy Lyons impressed stepping up with another big score when it was badly needed and with the clock ticking down, it was kicked out to Cairns on the wing, who hit a big three to tie the game at 91 points apiece and sent the game to overtime.

The visitors started off overtime the strongest, adding two baskets early to open up a gap on the scoring.

Scores from Black and Badmus brought Ireland back into it, but Luxembourg were determined not to leave Cork without a win, and powered on through to win out 93-97 in the end.

IRELAND: Adrian O’Sullivan, Aidan Quinn (6), Lorcan Murphy (20), Paddy Lyons (3), Travis Black (14), Ciaran Roe (c) (3), Matt Kelly, Taiwo Badmus (28), Jordan Blount (4), Keelan Cairns (15), Eoghain Kiernan, Paul Freeman.

- Digital desk

Related Articles

Glanmire facing season-defining test

Watch: NBA star Nikola Jokic scores amazing no-look shot – but has it disallowed

CJ Fulton: The Kid growing up fast

Liffey Celtics hit full flow to edge gutsy Glanmire

More in this Section

Darren Moore: There is complacency in fight against racism

Tottenham 'hugely frustrated' as stadium delayed once again

ITF boss Haggerty compares reaction to Davis Cup changes to Brexit

Tony Adams to become new president of England's Rugby Football League


Unmasking Limerick's newest masked rapper

How to stop tensions boiling over this festive season

Decorating your house for Christmas? Here's some advice from three Irish interior designers

A look back at the 10 big stories form the year in music

More From The Irish Examiner